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Christmas in Devon 2022 – brilliant festive family events

Christmas in Devon 2022 – brilliant festive family events

The Christmas count down is on! I may be biased but Christmas in Devon is wonderful. In preparation for this festive season, here’s my guide to what to expect in Devon this December. It includes where you’ll usually find Christmas events at attractions, festive shows, lights, and Santa himself!

I’ll be updating this post with further details as they are announced.

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Christmas in Devon: the ultimate guide for families

Grab your Santa hats and prepare your waistline for mince pies aplenty as Devon gets set for Christmas.

Below you’ll discover:

  • where to meet Santa in Devon
  • Devon Christmas markets
  • shows and pantomimes
  • winter trails
  • Santa steam trains and the Polar Express in Devon
  • Christmas lights and illuminations
  • what’s on at National Trust houses
  • and oodles of festive cheer.

You might also like to take some Christmas present inspiration from my Devon gift guide. And here’s a very Devon stocking filler!

Devon Colouring Book for Kids cover with pencils fanned out below
£5.95 +P&P *Supporting Devon Air Ambulance Trust*

Here’s what you can expect Christmas to look like in 2022:

Christmas shows and pantomimes in Devon

Magic lamp of wishes with smoke coming out from the lamp

Here are the Christmas shows and pantomimes happening in Devon in 2022:

Robin Hood at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter – 09 Dec 2022 – 07 Jan 2023

Robin Hood in text with an arrow  through the centre
Photo Credit: Northcott Theatre website

Northcott Theate has announced that it’s 2022 panto will be Robin Hood. It will be a brand-new Christmas show, directed by the Northcott’s Artistic Director, Daniel Buckroyd, and starring Le Navet Bete, alongside an extended cast and company.

Check the Northcott Theatre website for more details.

The Christmas Mouse, The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Plymouth – 15 – 24 December 2022

Illustration of The Christmas Mouse on a snowy backdrop
Photo Credit: The Soapbox Theatre

Christmas Mouse has lost its home when the snow begins to fall. Can the Christmas Mouse find somewhere warm and snuggly before Christmas Day?

A wonderful cosy day out for those under 8 years and their big people (children under 12 months are FREE).

Visit The Soapbox Children’s Theatre website to get more information and book tickets.

The Snow Cat at Yuletide, The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Plymouth – 17 -24 December 2022

Illustration of magical snow cat overlooking a row of houses
Photo Credit: The Soapbox Theatre

The Snow Cat at Yuletide is an enchanting story from an Icelandic traditional tale. If we all work together, we can make incredible things happen, however if we stray from the path we may get a visit from some unwanted guests. Will the Snow Cats visit bind everyone together? Will mischief and mayhem from some rather mischievous elves get in the way, and can the village pull together to make sure nothing or no-one goes astray. With incredible puppets, magical characters and a fantastic soundtrack, our winter season show will take you on a journey unlike any other.

Visit The Soapbox Children’s Theatre website to get more information and book tickets.

Cinderella at the Palace Theatre, Paignton – 17 Dec 2022 – 03 Jan 2023

Poster for the event of an illustrated glass slipper over the silhouette of a castle
Photo Credit: The Palace Theatre Paignton website

Paignton Pantomime Productions will be back on stage this year with Cinderella, the family’s favourite panto!

A spectacular traditional pantomime full of colour, song, dance, wit and audience participation makes Cinderella the must see Torbay pantomime.

For more information and to book tickets, see The Palace Theatre Paignton website.

More pantos in Devon

Expect to find pantomimes and Christmas shows at these venues:

  • The Theatre Royal Plymouth
  • Exeter Phoenix
  • The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington
  • The Soapbox Theatre, Plymouth
  • Queens Theatre, Barnstaple

If you know of others please drop me a line.

Where to meet Santa in Devon 2022

Two children holding presents next to waving Santa at Pennywell Farm

If Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Santa’s grotto, then here’s where to find Father Christmas in Devon in 2022.

Top tip: also see the Christmas events happening at Devon attractions below. Santa is bound to make an appearance!

Lanterns, Lights and Luminations in Brixham

This popular event in South Devon returns in 2022 with a magical lantern parade, a firework display, live music, street entertainment, and a market.

Market stalls and entertainment start at 10am, the lantern parade takes place at 5pm, followed at 6pm by the Christmas light switch on, arrival of Santa and fireworks.

This event is free to attend.

Lanterns, Lights and Luminations, Brixham Habour, 26 November 2022.

Santa’s Workshop at Hoburne Devon Bay

Child receiving Elf Diploma certificate from Santa and Elf

Join Santa and his head elf in their workshop at the Hoburne Devon Bay hoilday park in Paignton. This 30-45 minute interactive Christmas experience is open to guests at the park and families who want to pop in.

Help Santa create a Christmas bear full of cuddles that will bring the love and spirit of Christmas back to the workshop. Children will receive their very own elf diploma and have a group meet and greet with Santa.

The workshops take place on weekends in the run up to Christmas. Places must be booked in advance. This activity is recommended for children aged three to eight years.

Read more about our visit to Santa’s Workshop in 2021 on my Facebook page.

Hoburne Devon Bay, Paignton, selected dates 3 to 18 December 2022.

Sail with Santa and Stuart Line Cruises

Meet Santa on the River Exe this Christmas by hopping onboard a Stuart Line Cruises.

There will be magic and balloon modelling, as well as all the usual festive fun on this very special ride including a visit to Santas grotto. For adults there will be commentary about the river, mulled wine and mince pies.

Sail with Santa, Exmouth, selected dates between 3 December and 22 December 2022. Book online.

The Big Breakfast with Father Christmas at Ullacombe Farm Cafe – TBC in 2022

Get together with family and friends around the breakfast table at Ullacombe Farm Cafe. There will be huge servings breakfast and unlimited amounts of hot and cold drinks.

Each table will have their own waffle/pancake station and children will have a treat to take home, as well as some time with Father Christmas and his elf.

Advance booking is essential.

The Big Breakfast, Ullacombe Farmshop, Bovey Tracey, TBC in 2022.

Santa’s Grotto at The House of Marbles – TBC in 2022

Take your child on a magical trip through the House of Marbles’ festive winter wonderland where Santa and his Elves will be waiting to greet you into his cosy Grotto. 

Share your Christmas wishes and receive a lovely gift and goody bag, filled with seasonal treats to enjoy. 

Santa at the House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey, TBC in 2022.

Santa’s Grotto at Bow Garden Centre – TBC in 2022

Santa visits over the weekends in the run up to Christmas so children can meet him in his grotto and take part in a craft activities and treasure trails, as well as receiving a gift to take away.

Booking in advance is essential.

Visit Santa, Bow Garden Centre, Crediton, TBC in 2022.

Santa’s Grotto at Boringdon Hall

Santa will be visiting Boringdon Hall on three dates in the run up to Christmas. As well as the grotto this experience includes a festive afternoon tea and Christmas activities for the whole family.

Book in advance to meet Santa at Boringdon Hall.

Santa’s Grotto at Boringdon Hall, Plymouth, Sunday 4, 11 and 18 December 2022.

Meet Santa at Heron Valley

Calling all good girls and boys. Come and meet Father Christmas at Heron Valley Christmas Barn! Parents, join in for lovely Christmas present ideas in the Christmas barn with mulled apple juice (and mulled cider for the grown-ups) mince pies and festive fun. Booking is advised.

Christmas Barn at Heron Valley, Kingsbridge, Friday 3rd, 10th & 17th, Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December.

Santa’s Grotto at Just Imagine Play Cafe – TBC in 2022

Mrs Claus will be running the grotto at Just Imagine Play Cafe in Plymouth this year. Every child will receive a present from the North Pole and there will be a professional photographer to capture the special moment.

Just Imagine, Plymouth, TBC in 2022.

Meet Santa at Paignton Zoo – TBC in 2022

Santa will be taking time out from his busy Christmas schedule to take up residence in his magical grotto at Paignton Zoo.

You can also join Santa’s elves and make magical reindeer food to take home and use on Christmas Eve and enjoy story time with Mrs Claus.

Paignton Zoo, Paignton, selected dates TBC in 2022.

Christmas grotto at Woodlands – TBC in 2022

Santa sat on throne checking his list

We think the Woodlands Christmas grotto is the best grotto experience in Devon.

It is an intimate family experience that you start by walking though a series of interactive rooms. You are guided by Santa’s elves who point out all the fun details. You then get a private audience with Santa. You can take your own photos or buy a souvenir picture.

Each child receives an age appropriate present, reindeer food and a sweet treat. Adults get a non-alcoholic festive drink. Your ticket price also includes entry to the rest of the park if you do not already hold a season ticket.

Ticket prices are set out on the Woodlands website.

Woodlands, Dartmouth, TBC in 2022.

Here’s a video I made after our last visit in 2018 – we were invited to a preview for my other website, Tin Box Traveller:

Santa’s grotto at Shaldon Zoo – TBC in 2022

Santa will be hanging out with his friends at Shaldon Zoo this December.

Book online to avoid disappointment.

Shaldon Zoo, Shaldon near Teignmouth, TBC in 2022.

Christmas festivals and winter wonderlands in Devon

These events are a bit more than a Christmas market with other attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

Illuminations and market at Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth – TBC in 2022

Connaught Gardens illuminations

Visit Connaught Gardens in the coastal town of Sidmouth this December for an illuminating Christmas experience.

There will be an illuminated trail through the gardens high on the clifftops and an undercover Christmas food and craft village. Here you’ll be tempted by delicious food, mouth-watering drinks and an array of crafty Christmas gift ideas from high quality local makers.

The illuminated gardens are a ticketed event, so book early to make sure you don’t miss out. The Food & Craft Village is non-ticketed so anyone can visit and appreciate the festive atmosphere.

Connaught at Christmas, Sidmouth, TBC in 2022.

Exeter Winter Wonderland – TBC in 2022

Set in the heart of the city centre, the new for 2021 Exeter Winter Wonderland is billed as a magical day out for the whole family to enjoy.

There will be an ice rink and Santa’s grotto as well as rides and locally-sourced festive refreshments.

The Winter Wonderland is free entry, with tickets available to purchase for the ice rink and Santa’s Grotto.

Exeter Winter Wonderland, Northernhey Gardens, TBC in 2022.

Christmas Village North Devon – TBC in 2022

With a real-ice rink, Santas Grotto experience and Christmas Market Village, Christmas Village North Devon is set to be a popular spot this winter. 

The large, covered ice rink will have adult and toddler sessions daily during term time where skating aids and pushchairs will be welcome on the ice. You may even catch sight of Santa or some of your favourite characters from children’s TV on these sessions.

In the Santa experience where you can make reindeer food, a decoration and write a letter to Santa on your way to his grotto where children will receive a present.

Enjoy local food and drink whilst picking up some locally made presents for the family.

Christmas Village North Devon, Tarka Tennis, Barnstaple, TBC in 2022.

Exmouth Winter Festival – TBC in 2022

This is a free family event suitable for all ages. Join us for live choirs, walk-about performers and the annual children’s lantern parade.

The event begins at 4pm with local choirs and musicians performing on a temporary stage in the Strand. They will be accompanied by festive walk-about performers including roller-skating presents, light up hula hoopers and larger than life animals.

The children’s lantern parade will set off at 5.30pm and lead the way to the Christmas tree light switch on at 6pm.

Exmouth Winter Festival, TBC in 2022.

Polar Express and Santa trains in Devon

Here’s the Christmas trains coming to Devon for Christmas in 2022:

The Polar Express™ at South Devon Railway

All aboard The Polar Express for a magical ride to the North Pole with South Devon Railway.

Join the Conductor and his crew as they recreate scenes from the film in the carriages as you journey between Buckfastleigh and Totnes before visiting Santa’s workshop.

The Polar Express, South Devon Railway, Paignton, selected dates from 19 November to 23 December 2022.

Train of Lights at Dartmouth Steam Railway

Children looking out of Train. of Lights carriage window at a view of Dartmouth

This magical illuminated journey through the South Devon countryside is a special Christmas treat that all ages will enjoy.

Board the vintage train carriages decked with thousands of fairy lights at Paignton and take a round trip to Kingswear. Along the way there will be a festive show at Churston Station and plenty of sparkle along the track.

Read about our Train of Lights experience in 2021.

Train of Lights, Dartmouth Steam Railway, Paignton, 2 November to 30 December 2022.

The Polar Express™ at Seaton Tramway

The Polar Express is coming to Seaton Tramway again this Christmas!

Board this the magical tram ride to Santa’s home at the North Pole in one of the specially decorated single deck tramcars. There will be hot chocolate, a delicious treat and a chance to speak to Santa while you admire the awesome lights of the North Pole.

Children will also receive a gift from Santa.

The Polar Express, Seaton Tramway, Seaton, 25 November to 24 December 2022.

Christmas events at Devon attractions

Devon’s attractions put on a great show at Christmas with special events and displays during the festive season.

Here’s where you can expect to find events on in Devon this December:

Christmas at Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle illuminated with rainbow lights

Powderham Castle’s light walk returns this Christmas along with indoor festive displays.

More details will be released closer to the time.

Christmas at the Castle, Powderham Castle, near Exeter, 1 to 31 December 2022.

Clovelly Christmas Lights

Head to Clovelly from 4pm on 4 December 2022 to see the Christmas Lights switched on. The local brass band will procession down to the harbour where there will be carols, a hog roast and other festive refreshments.

Don’t miss a visit from Father Christmas himself and seeing the entire village and harbour lit up.

The grand finale is a firework display to add even more sparkle to this opening event to the Clovelly Christmas season.

Entrance fee: £10 per car at the Visitor Centre after 2pm. All proceeds to RNLI.

Clovelly Christmas Lights, Clovelly Village, 4 December 2022.

Christmas Wonderland Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village

Enter a magical miniature wonderland of festive lights at Babbacombe Model Village this Christmas.

There will be miniature seasonal scenes, a Christmas character spotter sheet and crazy golf if you arrive before 3.15pm. The Christmas lights are on from 3.45pm to 5.45pm.

Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay, selected dates from 10 December 2022 to 2 January 2023.

Christmas at Woolly Animals – TBC in 2022

Woolly Animal park near Winkleigh will be celebrating Christmas in style with a decorated barn, festive animal handling & feeding, a market and free tea/coffee for visitors.  

Christmas at Woolly Animals, Winkleigh, TBC in 2022.

Christmas Nights at Dartmoor Zoo – TBC in 2022

Enjoy all of Dartmoor Zoo’s animals during the day from 2pm with the Christmas lights day and night ticket, before exploring the enchanting trail around the Zoo after dusk. The zoo is also offering a discounted evening only admission ticket if you would prefer to just go for an illuminating adventure between 5.30pm and 8pm.

Tickets must be pre-booked online in advance.

Dartmoor Zoo, Sparkford, TBC in 2022.

Christmas experience at Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre – TBC in 2022

The Miniature Pony Centre is opening its doors for its first ever Christmas events this year.

Coming along for the centre’s most popular activities, including meeting horses, ponies and donkeys. Plus there will be a choir and Christmas stalls filled with lovely local and artisan produce. Father Christmas will also be visiting.

Book your tickets in advance.

Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre, Newton Abbot, TBC in 2022

Christmas Nativity at Pennywell Farm – TBC in 2022

Fern the Donkey in stable at Pennywell Farm

Pennywell Farm’s magical nativity returns in 2022. You’ll be greeted by elves and transported back 2,000 years to a nativity scene starring animals from the farm.

There will be plenty of treats for young and old as well as a visit to meet Father Christmas in an enchanted forest. Every child will receive a special present.

If you are interested in going next year read out review of Christmas at Pennywell Farm.

Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, dates TBC in 2022.

Festive weekends at The Milky Way Adventure Park – TBC in 2022

The Magic of Christmas is coming to the Milky Way this December. Journey through the magical snowy forest to meet Buzzlewick the Elf in the Elf Emporium, have a go a gingerbread decorating and make reindeer food.

Then visit Santa’s cosy Christmas Cottage to chat to the jolly fella himself and receive a special festive gift. Santa visits cost an additional fee per child.

There will be a garland festooned train station with jolly with festive music and grab a hot chocolate to journey on the Festive Train. Santa’s naughty elves will also be at the Milky Way, so watch out for their mischievous antics!

The Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford, dates TBC in 2022.

Crealy festive celebrations – TBC in 2022

Crealy Mascots Buddy and Blossom Bear on ice skates

Crealy’s spectacular Christmas show returns to The Big Top this winter with a performance on ice and live entertainment in the park. Children will also be able to to pick their own present from Santa’s toy shop.

Last year’s Christmas Parade will also make a return to wish Santa well as he goes to prepare for his big night.

Take a look at our full guide to days out at Crealy Adventure Park.

Christmas at Crealy, Exeter, TBC in 2022.

Carols in the Caves at Kents Cavern – TBC in 2022

Get into the festive spirit with this magical Christmas concert in the Vestibule Chamber before walking around the cave system singing carols by candlelight.

Finish with mulled wine or hot chocolate and festive treats in the Great Chamber.

Carols in the Caves, Kents Cavern, Torquay, TBC in 2022.

Christmas fun at The BIG Sheep – TBC in 2022

Take your little elves to The BIG Sheep for Christmas parties with Jiggy Wrigglers. There will be soft play, children’s shows and crafts. These toddler events take place between 5 and 10 December.

You can also head to The Big Sheep for a festive fireworks display this Christmas.

Book tickets for both events in advance.

The Big Sheep, Bideford, TBC in 2022.

What’s on at National Trust properties in Devon this Christmas

Christmas at Killerton – TBC in 2022

Family stood in tunnel of fairy lights

See twinkling lights and hear the air filled with seasonal sounds around this National Trust property north of Exeter. Don’t forget to look out for Father Christmas along the way.

Find out what we thought about Killerton’s Christmas light trail after visiting during a press preview night.

Killerton National Trust, Cullompton, TBC in 2022.

Don’t check my post on things to do in Devon this Winter to find more National Trust places to visit.

Devon Christmas markets and fairs in 2022

Child with drinks and hot dog at a Christmas market

What better way to enjoy the festive season than with a mulled cider and bratwurst while browsing locally produced gifts? Read my full guide to Christmas markets in Devon.

Family New Year parties in Devon

Here’s the best places to celebrate the new year with your kids:

Bubblicious family raves with the Soapbox Theatre, Plymouth – TBC in 2022

Join The Soapbox Theatre for a special family-friendly dance party to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There will be a session for families with babies and for older kids with music lowered for little ears. Both events take place earlier in the day with the clocks reset so children can see in the New Year at their own ‘midnight’!

Guest DJ’s will play an eclectic mix of dance music from old skool to new skool. There will also be glow sticks, UV face painting, bubbles, walkabout performers, an arts and crafts chill-out area and lots more to keep everyone entertained.

For adults there will be a licensed bar.

Bubblicious, The Soapbox Theatre, Devonport, TBC in 2022.

Looking for more things to do between Christmas and New Year? Check out my guide to Twixmas in Devon.

Where to buy a Christmas tree in Devon

If Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree here’s where to buy a Christmas tree in Devon:

Phew, what a lot there is going on this Christmas in Devon, even in 2022! What takes your fancy? I’m sure there’s events I’ve missed so please do get in touch if you think something should be added.

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Planning your festive days out? Why not save this post about what’s on and things to do this Christmas in Devon.

Plan your festive season with this guide to spending Christmas in Devon, including what's on in December like family events, days out, pantomimes, markets and Santa trains #Christmas #December #winter #family #events #Santa #train #fun #UK #England #visit #festive #market #pantomime #Fatherçhristmas #Devonwithkids

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Sunday 26th of September 2021

You left off The Soapbox Theatre in Devonport. They always do an amazing Xmas show

Claire Hall

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I believe they're going to send me the details so I can add them :)


Friday 20th of November 2020

Thank you, this is really helpful in planning kid activities this year ! X

Claire Hall

Monday 23rd of November 2020

Hi Lucy, you are very welcome. I'm glad you've found it useful.

The 15 Best UK Christmas Markets In 2020

Thursday 17th of September 2020

[…] Or check here for lots more things to do at Christmas in Devon […]

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